By Phil Stella
Only one letter separates “networking” from “not working.” Now, many CBC readers realize the mission-critical value of effective networking. Properly done, it can create mutually beneficial business relationships that help you do your jobs better, find better jobs and grow your businesses.
Surprisingly, one of your primary networking tools is your simple, little, low-tech business card. Since you only get a few moments to make the best possible positive first impression on a stranger, what you do — and don’t do — with your business card can make a significant difference. Consider these simple strategies:
1. Don’t give your card to people at the beginning of a conversation. Wait until you have a reason to want their card or to want them to have yours.
2. After a short focused chat, if you’re interested, then ask them for their card. Write a note on the back indicating where you met and what you discussed. This should prompt them to ask for yours.
3. If they don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested in you. It just means they haven’t asked you for your card … yet.
4. Then, say, “May I give you my card?” instead of “Would you like my card?” Almost everyone will say yes. And don’t take it out of your pocket until they do. Write a similar note on the back of yours.
This simple little technique can project a positive first impression of uncommon courtesy and professionalism. It can also help differentiate you from the rest of the amateurs networking at the same event.
Phil Stella runs Effective Training and Communication Inc. and works with business leaders who want to communicate – and network – confidently. He is the COSE MindSpring Networking Expert and a popular speaker on the topic. He can be reached at email@example.com and (440) 449-0356.